In the last recap, I briefly touched on how Darby and Augie had an accidental baby, and I thought there was no way it would play out the same way with Marcus and Becca. For one, that would just be boring. But also these two pregnancies happened under extremely different circumstances. Darby and Augie had so much history together and love for each other that co-parenting was the obvious choice, but Marcus and Becca are practically strangers — friends with benefits who had no intention of staying together for the long haul.
That being said, I could see this relationship going one of two ways: Marcus accepts being a parent but remains unhappy, though this still felt like too much of a rehash of season one, or they end up losing the baby, which the numerous references to Becca’s age imply. (Disclaimer: I didn’t binge the whole season because I wanted to avoid spoilers.) This just seemed like the natural progression because it would give Marcus the push he requires to reevaluate his wants and needs in life and love. I can’t say I’ve ever had a pregnancy scare, but I feel like that experience would just give you a reality check. (Correct me if I’m wrong.) In the end, Becca and Marcus do decide to terminate the pregnancy after numerous complications crop up that would result in a miscarriage. Marcus is relieved (“I know this is gonna sound a little fucked-up,” he concedes), but perhaps these last few episodes will explore the complicated feelings that arise from losing a baby he never wanted.
Before that revelation, however, “Becca Evans, Part II” sees Marcus come to terms with his upcoming fatherhood. In the beginning, he can barely function. He’s despondent and depressed, capable of thinking only about his baby on the way. Later, he even half-jokes that he was on suicide watch, which is extremely scary to think about considering he had no support. Ida, Kian, and Yogi try to shake him out of his funk, but Ida and Kian aren’t taking him seriously and Yogi is in forever-dad mode so he can’t understand why Marcus wouldn’t want to be in his position. They can’t seem to grasp the rock and a hard place he finds himself between. He really does not want a baby, but he refuses to be an absent father. (Side note: Please go to therapy, Marcus!!!)
Marcus has effectively had all of his agency ripped from him. (“But everywhere he turned, Marcus was hard-pressed to find even a shred of evidence that he was in the driver’s seat of his own life,” the narrator says over Marcus’s perpetually worried frown.) Of course, it’s Becca’s body at stake here, and it’s her decision that counts the most. But this has rendered Marcus a ghost hovering close by. I thought about how Becca said she told him about her pregnancy only “as a courtesy.” That’s how little autonomy he has in this situation — he could’ve not known at all. There are other things, too: how Becca is treating this baby like a kind of do-over, plus her previous comment about having a “cute mixed baby.” Even though Marcus and Becca develop a casual co-parenting relationship, it’s impossible to ignore her power over him. She’s this rich white lady using this pregnancy for her own gain, maybe even her vanity, while Marcus is stuck idly looking on.
There’s always that big first love to whom everyone else is compared. In season one, it was Augie, Darby’s egregiously charming first boyfriend, who was too much of a freewheeler ever to settle down. With Marcus, that looming crush who raised the bar is Mia. She’s the only person he can talk to about this whole mess, the only one who won’t judge him (too much), the only one who will hear him out, and the only one who will help him forget about how scared he is, just for a little while. The two have something of a Before Sunrise–esque date, during which they walk around Central Park for hours, argue like an actual couple over corner-store shoes, and open up to each other in a way they (presumably) never have before. The fact that the last bit happens on the steps of a church feels significant. It’s a place where life begins, at a christening or wedding, but also where life ends. This moment they spend together is all very sweet, especially since their flirtation has never subsided since that first meeting at Darby’s wedding, but it’s tinged with melancholy. There’s a chance they’ll never see each other again, and it’s as if they’re silently mourning a relationship that never existed.
And just as Marcus has accepted his new life, he loses the baby. With Marcus’s time with Becca coming to an end, Love Life opens the door for him to finally (finally) get together with Mia. Over the first half of the season, these two have been circling each other, dipping in and out of relationships, and perhaps just waiting for the right moment to make it official. William Jackson Harper and Jessica Williams are both charismatic leads who have a palpable chemistry that comes through in how easy it is for them to talk and laugh together. Marcus has always worried about pretending to be someone he’s not — but with Mia, he can be his real, genuine self. “So, what do we do now?” Marcus asks. I can’t wait to find out.
• When Marcus experiences a microaggression from the clinic receptionist, Becca is angry on his behalf, but her concern feels performative given that she never apologized for her own ignorance.
• Marcus watching Becca and her daughter (who’s in community service for a DUI) argue before they can even say hello would be the perfect form of birth control if he hadn’t already forgotten to wear a condom.
• No thoughts, just Marcus and Yogi’s entire exchange about keeping kids in the car. (“Is that for kidnappers? Dogs?”) I’m speaking as someone who, as a kid, was left in the car with the radio on. Yogi is valid!
• Now that it looks as though Jessica Williams will be playing a more central role (yay!), I highly recommend The Incredible Jessica James, a delightful rom-com that would have been her breakout role in a just world. Better late than never.